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This BLOG is for LLNL present and past employees, friends of LLNL and anyone impacted by the privatization of the Lab to express their opinions and expose the waste, wrongdoing and any kind of injustice against employees and taxpayers by LLNS/DOE/NNSA. The opinions stated are personal opinions. Therefore, The BLOG author may or may not agree with them before making the decision to post them. Comments not conforming to BLOG rules are deleted. Blog author serves as a moderator. For new topics or suggestions, email jlscoob5@gmail.com

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reimagining the National Laboratories

Digital Journal
June 20, 2013

ITIF Report: Reimagining the National Laboratories

The Department of Energy's (DOE) National Laboratories System was created in the 1940s to develop the atomic bomb. From its national security origins, the Labs have become one of the centerpieces of the United States federal research enterprise, representing nearly $20 billion in annual public research dollars. However, as the pace of innovation has accelerated and the complexity of national challenges has increased, the national laboratory system has not kept stride. Significant reforms are required to better catalyze innovation and promote the 21st century economy.

To accomplish this goal, three think tanks, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the Heritage Foundation, and the Center for American Progress (CAP), propose a set of nonpartisan policy proposals for reforming the national laboratories. Turning the Page: Re-imagining the National Labs in the 21st Century Innovation Economy makes a series of recommendations that if enacted will increase research flexibility, allow for greater cooperation between the labs and the private sector, and promote a more cohesive and efficient researchprogram within the Department of Energy.

"The national labs are a tremendous source of cutting-edge research and scientific talent, but their operations are still based on a decades-old management model that no longer meets the needs of our modern innovation ecosystem," notes Matthew Stepp, Senior Analyst with ITIF and lead author of the report. "This study presents a series of twelve proposals for Congress and the Administration that can ensure the labs better meet their mission and produce useful technologies that spur economic growth and create jobs."

While efforts to reform the lab system have become highly politicized, ITIF, Heritage, and CAP have been able to agree on common sense reforms for basic, good governance of the labs. As stated in the report, "These recommendations are as relevant to a large, highly-funded research agenda as they are to a much more limited one."

"A system that allows the market to pull technologies out of the federal research establishment rather than them being pushed into the market by Washington is the best way to get more successes like GPS and fewer failures like synfuels," adds Jack Spencer, a Senior Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

"These pragmatic reforms won't cost the taxpayer anything, but will lead to better research, more innovation, and greater economic growth," says Sean Pool, a former policy analyst and managing editor of CAP's Science Progress program. "But pragmatic does not mean less bold.


I'm pleased that we were able to find consensus across ideological lines around a set of reforms that are both ambitious and practical."

The reforms presented fall into three main categories: (1) removing DOE micromanagement of lab decisions and replacing it with more robust contractor accountability; (2) reforming the DOE program offices to better coordinate lab stewardship, budgeting, and research; and (3) providing better incentives and flexibility for the labs, industry, and universities to move promising technologies to market.

"The national labs have been a tremendous driver of innovation and business development in the past," Stepp adds. "But the reforms we propose today are critical to the labs producing more economy-transforming research. If three ideologically diverse organizations can agree on these issues, surely Washington can as well."

Read the Report At

http://www2.itif.org/2013-turning-page-national-lab-innovation-economy.pdf

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

So this is all well and good for the science labs like ornl, PNNL, LBL, etc. but the weapons labs have antiquated and unreformable business models, plus we don't need two design labs. LLNL should just be merged into Sandia via the California site, redundancies eliminated reducing the LLNL workforce by 75% with NIF being moved into the Lvoc and paid for by the 1.5B that the lab has claimed it will get from VCs. The likely survivors on the LLNL side would probably be the applied math and comp people. LANL can cherry pick from the pool of designers at LLNL. The rest of the cattle can get sent to the slaughterhouse.

Alexis said...

Anonymous 10:48PM

At some point in your career at LLNL you were severely b*tt hurt, is this correct? Your wishful thinking at damage to LLNL employees makes his pretty clear.

Anonymous said...

We can damage LANL employees instead if you would like. The problem is that LLNL can't take over Pu operations... Unless that goes to Sandia too. LLNL has the smallest mission space remaining of the three labs. So it only makes sense to get rid of LLNL. And we know that a stockpile reduction is inevitable. Why bother pretending to be relevant? The writing is on the wall.

Anonymous said...

To be clear all three labs are a big waste of taxpayer money in need of drastic shrinkage. But I only go after the weakest (LLNL) because as a practical matter shrinking all three would be too disruptive and unrealistic. And it is called mercy simply to speed up the death of a dying lab. LLNL is dying. Stop pretending that it is anything other than a terminal case.

Anonymous said...

And no, I never got the opportunity to benefit from those high Bay Area salaries that LLNL pays its employees.

Anonymous said...

Well, LLNL has made many people butthurt. Those employees who suffered from beryllium poisoning at the hands of irresponsible LLNL management. Scientists like Bill Nellis who was treated attrociously by LLNL management... Or the long train of top notch scientists driven out at unprecedented rates over the last decade, leaving a cesspool of mediocrity. LLNL did a butthurt onto the city of Livermore with its gift of tritium in the groundwater. How about all those suing the lab for wrongful termination? I have to conclude that there must be alot of butthurt coming out of the lab. Ouch.

Anonymous said...

Supposedly a lot of "technical" staff at Sandia do not have PhDs. I suggest these people get weeded out first:

http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/2013/05/hey-lanl-and-sandia.html?showComment=1368229152210#c5184911644985578339

Anonymous said...

Makes no sense since they are more cost effective

Anonymous said...

I thought the table with research funding source information for the three NNSA labs of interest...

Funding from NNSA
LLNL – 74.4%
LANL – 70.7%
SNL – 55.1%

Funding from other DOE Offices
LANL – 18.5%
SNL – 9.5%
LLNL – 6.9%

Funding from non-DOE
SNL – 35.4%
LLNL – 18.3%
LANL – 10.7%

Anonymous said...

LLNL has the worst balance, and positioned most poorly for any form of transition

Anonymous said...

An open comment to all you Lab haters: what a bunch of sad little people you are: you must live VERY small lives. You REALLY DO sound ignorant and foolish as you (yes, small you) pontificate over the future of the Labs and her programs and give your jaded opinion as though your opinion is imprtant. I fart in your face.

Anonymous said...

Tell us why LLNL is not the worst positioned of the three.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Supposedly a lot of "technical" staff at Sandia do not have PhDs. I suggest these people get weeded out first:

http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/2013/05/hey-lanl-and-sandia.html?showComment=1368229152210#c5184911644985578339

Makes no sense since they are more cost effective

Nope! LANL and LLNL have received the majority of R&D 100 awards (which are *externally* reviewed) compared to Sandia in the last 5 years. The non-PhDs in Sandia have *not* been cost effective

Anonymous said...

Those non phd Sandians don't fabricate data. Neither do LANL people. That's why LLNL should go.

Anonymous said...

Sandia is too healthy to even be considered for closure. Such an idea is just ridiculous. It is an engineering lab, and by the way you don't hire PhDs for the sake of hiring PhDs. Technical work includes analytical and engineering work, not just basic research. On top of that my own personal experience is that the best analysts (national security analysts, systems analysts, market analysts, risk analysts) do NOT have PhDs. The real question is which design lab to close. Two messed up labs, one with a large mission space, one with a small one. Maybe LANL should be closed or broken up. Breaking it up does seen to make sense considering all of its problems.

Anonymous said...

Those PhDs who fabricated their anysis on d2 EoS and the current laser EoS work even came from top named universities. By the way have they retracted that paper yer?

Anonymous said...

LANL had to give LLNL weapons work for some systems because LLNL has almost zero mission space at the time. LANL is relevant while LLNL is not. It is bloody obvious that LANL has to stay. It has its work to do while LLNL struggles to figure out how to be relevant following the multiple NIF failures. Let's stop the handouts by LANL to LLNL. LLNL can't stand in its own. No more welfare for the deadbeats. LLNL needs to go.

Anonymous said...

DOE has other more important things to pay for. Such as, continued cleanup of Hanford which is shown to be leaking once again. It gives more reason to get rid of weak organizations like LLNL.

Anonymous said...

With the failure of NIF, LLNL should give the W80 back to it's "rightful" home (LANL), including whatever LEPs LLNL has stolen from LANL. With these decisions, LLNL has no mission and should be "shutdown".

Anonymous said...

The basic political calculation points to LLNL being the lab to close. Closing LANL would devastate its local economy. The SF bay area wouldn't even notice LLNL shutting down. Plus by offering to relocate all LLNL technical staff to LANL you can get rid of a healthy chunk of them without having to "fire" them.

Alexis said...

It is both sad and yet funny to see the sour people on here literally frothing at the mouth. Just that you can only list the negatives that happened in the 60+ years of LLNL instead of all the science and engineering success shows what sort of people you are... *pathetic*

Sorry to break it to you, but even though the Labs are having a hard time right now, the core of these Labs are the highly-competant technical staff. I've worked in industry across this nation; the staff at LLNL are leaps and bounds better. LLNL is by no means perfect, but relatively speaking it is a crown jewel for this nation.

You immature and cowardly "Anonymous" commenters on here can play keyboard warrior until you turn blue in the face -- LLNL (or LANL, or SNL) will not be closing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to break it to you, but even though the Labs are having a hard time right now, the core of these Labs are the highly-competant technical staff.

June 22, 2013 at 2:58 PM

The technical staff at LLNL are so "highly-competant" that they can't spell competent. Geezzz....

Anonymous said...

Having competent technical staff is irrelevant when your organization has a small mission space footprint that continues to shrink and needs work taken from other labs just to keep afloat. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine how an LLNL "breakup" might look like in light of its small mission space.

Anonymous said...

I've heard how LLNL employees were referring to themselves as "crown jewels." Indeed there are a number of top notch people there. The crown jewel designation doesn't apply to everyone, however. There has been a great deal of brain drain from LLNL, whereas the bottom feeders have no incentive to leave. That's not a sign of a healthy organization.

Anonymous said...

June 22, 2013 at 2:58 PM needs to resort to ad hominem insults because he doesn't have a better argument to make. Too bad. Just more confirmation that the lab has a downward trajectory.

Anonymous said...

The past doesn't matter when the people who made the lab great are long gone. You have to look at the future prospects and unique capabilities. NIF really needs to deliver since LLNL chose not to hedge its bet with a diversified strategy. Do you think that LLNL is too big to fail and will get bailed out by DC? Perhaps it will happen. There is alot of talk about Sandia having to give up work and funding to LLNL. Again, not a sign of a healthy organization.

Anonymous said...

With the failure of NIF, LLNL should give the W80 back to it's "rightful" home (LANL), including whatever LEPs LLNL has stolen from LANL. With these decisions, LLNL has no mission and should be "shutdown".

Yes, but we all know that NNSA.DoE rewards failure.

Anonymous said...

Sandia in Livermore should be closed down

Anonymous said...

Sandia CA is so minor that no one would miss it, though closing it would have little impact in terms of savings to NNSA. The better idea is to just let LLNL absorb Sandia CA, taking all the finding going through there. But we need bigger cost-savings. Going after small fry is small-minded thinking.

Anonymous said...

Closing Sandia CA would benefit LANL, since they would be the ones picking up large blocks of certain program work. The rest would just go back to albuquerque. Maybe Sandia will be even better positioned of the three labs overall, if CA was jettisoned and all work is consolidated in NM. The big savings you could get are where redundancies are eliminated, since work that needs to be done for customers... still need to be done for those customers.

Anonymous said...

LLNL is not a "crown jewel" of the nation. It was a long time ago. Corporations like Intel, IBM and Google hold those distinctions. Welcome to capitalism. The national labs are outdated relics of the cold war. Just because LLNL is better than the majority of firms like Enron, doesn't make it a crown jewel. This isn't communist russia where everyone is a winner, and everyone is a crown jewel.

That reminds me, speaking of R&D awards, didn't PEREGRINE get an R&D 100 award? And look how successful that has been in terms of actual impact to healthcare. A real winner, indeed.

Anonymous said...

You don't get it. LLNL is the most coveted of the labs by DOE because its ULM has been best at showing complete contempt for their employees. ULM tries to blame DOE micromanagement but DOE didn't force LLNL ULM to fill senior management with the vile and corrupt. DOE didn't force LLNL to openly share the 399 VSPs with the media while keeping it secret from the LLNL employees.

Anonymous said...

Alexis is just mad because we use alot of different arguments for concluding that LLNL is by far the weakest of the three labs. Yeah Peregrine was a real winner. A real crown jewel. LIFE is going to get a few R&D 100 awards too.... again, real winners.

Anonymous said...

Alexis might want to start making real logical arguments rather than being the only one being angry here. Loser

Anonymous said...

There is no way around this inevitable truth, that a smaller future stockpile means less work for the labs, and the NM labs are the natural places for the remaining work. Work being taken from LANL and Sandia to keep LLNL afloat? Why should the other labs hurt because LLNL screwed up and made bad strategic planning decisions? It's time for them to pay for the consequences. It would have been nice if the surviving labs were more geographically disparate. But that by itself isn't a reason to keep putting more taxpayer funding into a failed LLNL.

Anonymous said...

NNSA will keep bailing out LLNL, probably by ripping off work from Sandia. That will be followed by LLNL managers going around telling their employees about how valued they are as crown jewels of the complex, so important that they "deserve" the ripped off work more than the other labs. Then LLNL will misappropriate the funding, putting it into LIFE and ignition, saying that the actual work (probably LEP) can only be performed reliably by first doing deuterium-tritium and Pu EoS measurements on NIF before they rubberstamp systems work with the LLNL seal of approval.

ASvW said...

The "Alexis" posts on this blog topic are not from the "Alexis" who worked on "Peregrine".

Anonymous said...

I will agree with Alexis that LLNL has many many very smart and talented people. The problem is that the organization doesn't have good products or enough demand from its customers. It's not something employees or even management can fix. And yes I would have to agree that LLNL overall is the worst positioned of the three for a world with an even smaller stockpile.

Anonymous said...

Let's beat up on chili cook-off again. They need more publicity. The customer of that work was very pleased. It advanced capability development along multiple directions, and it opened up more possibility for novel experiments and future work and funding streams.

The blog belittlement of that work actually caused more people to request information about it, giving the work more publicity, and positive responses for those who did look further into it.

That made me laugh my ass off to know that naysayers of that project are actually promoting it.

Anonymous said...

Is Alexis the one offering to fart in naysayers faces per earlier posting? Watch out, you might get some takers. There are alot of deviants at LLNL who would probably enjoy that kind of perversion.

Anonymous said...

That's called the "hunched salute."

Anonymous said...

Peregrine...a "success story"?... riiiiiiigggght.

Anonymous said...

Best Idea: Hire bright scientists, give them funding, and get the hell out of the way and let them do their jobs.

The job of a scientist is to come up with new ideas. We do it for a modest salary and with the best interests of society at mind. The motivation is personal satisfaction and recognition, not stock options.

The job of free enterprise is to take these ideas and make them practical and profitable and deliver them to market.

Get rid of the contractors running the labs. These private contractors only care about money and will run the labs into the ground so long as they collect their management fees.

Go back to the old model, where government agencies or universities managed operations. The labs were far more productive, were far more efficient, and everyone was a hell of a lot happier back then.

Anonymous said...

June 23,2013 at 5:06 PM

Bingo. You hit the solution right on the head.

Anonymous said...

Skunkworks are by far more productive and motivated and perform far better than large monolithic block funded programs.

Anonymous said...

Let's beat up on chili cook-off again.

Okay... the chili cook-off didn't even involve any chili. Egads! What is wrong with these people? That program needs to be sequestered! We can't have nonsense where a chili cook-off doesn't involve any chili. What will the neighbors say?

Anonymous said...

http://www.sandia.gov/LabNews/100730.html

Oh the humanity! No chili!

Anonymous said...

I see a whole bunch of R&D 100 awards out of LLNL led be people blackballed or marginalized by LLNL later. Campbell is pretty darned distinguished too. 1985 weapons program award of excellence, 1990 excellence in plasma physics award, 1994 E O Lawrence award, 1994 teller award, 1995 FPA Leadership award. Alexis is right. LLNL used to be chock full of brilliant minds!!!

Anonymous said...

Getting an rd100 award at LLNL could be a curse for many. Bad luck or a knife to the back will fall upon many recipients as history has shown.

Alexis said...

Seems I really hit a nerve with the LLNL bashers on here! Note that I was not attacking any of you on here personally (a bit impossible considering you all hide your identities). I do however sincerely feel sorry for you.

On the other hand I see that I've been subject to personal attacks, such as someone using the name Anonymous to call me a "Loser". A tad bit ironic, no? It is truly a miserable existence that many of you must come on here daily and post all these ugly and bitter messages as "Anonymous".

...and I am a SHE, thank you very much. I'm not afraid to use my real name and I'd be available to meet up in Livermore's downtown to discuss the Lab with anyone on here who wishes.

I'll say this again -- LLNL has its positives and negatives. I've worked with many intelligent, hard-working, and GOOD people -- some of the best I've ever had the pleasure to work with across industry and academia. If that goes against your agenda -- so be it.

Anonymous said...

"Go back to the old model, where government agencies or universities managed operations. The labs were far more productive, were far more efficient, and everyone was a hell of a lot happier back then.

June 23, 2013 at 5:06 PM"

You make a good point however the current holders of he contract would say that before they came in that the labs where out of control, Mustangs where being stolen, spys, meth, fires, and lasers in eyes. It was just one disaster after another and Congress wanted to shut the whole thing down. The claim was this is what happens when you let scientists run the place. Nanos even had to stand down LANL just to save it. Now we no longer have these problems, or least we do not have the perception of these problems. Congress is happy, and the contractor is happy. The workforce is irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

I figured that Alexis was ready to play hardball after using terms like butthurt, pathetic, cowardly and immature against me and the others. I figured wrong. Some can't take what they dish out. This blog is for the thick skinned. You should not post insults personal insults if you can't take them yourself.

Anonymous said...

Alexis, you should talk to bill Nellis and get his perspective.

Anonymous said...

By the way Alexis, your identity is hidden too. Since anyone can use that tag, and there is no unique identifier, your identity is as good as anonymous. And given the way of the Internet, you could be a guy who says that he is a girl. Supposedly that's a common game some play for whatever perverse reason. Not that it matters except to make the point that you are also anonymous like the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

No one wants to meet you or even bother to get to know you, after you referred to us as pathetic. We feel butthurt. Go away.

Anonymous said...

And for your own personal benefit (yes we do care about LLNL management retaliation against employees), you are better off posting anonymously. You getting into arguments about topics that just sets us up for knocking the ball out of the ballpark and putting lab PR in an awkward position isn't going to be appreciated (unless you actually work in PR.). Just post anonymously and keep calling us pathetic immature butthurt angry whiners. And don't bring up the topic about Bill Nellis or D2 EoS around lab management for your own well being.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say that LLNL is a different place than before and that you are just going on and on like a broken record of unresolved past injustices meted out by the lab. But I just don't know. The same abusers are still here in management. And there is nothing to indicate any change in attitudes or improvement in management practices. You're probably right to be wary of retaliation against employees by the lab.

Anonymous said...

The topic is really along the lines of strategic planning and capabilities whereas "Alexis" is using argumentation regarding the existence of good employees at the lab. Two different topics. Enron had really good people too, not all were crooked. But that's besides the point. On top of that, the insults regarding miserable lives of others discussing the strategic planning level topic. Is "Alexis" part of LLNL propaganda relations? The attempts at topic swapping is indicative of a PR department.

Anonymous said...

Wake me up when my LDRD funding comes through...

Anonymous said...

The only real winner from reduced (or increased) stockpile numbers is Pantex. No decrease in their workload no matter what happens. Sweet.

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